Verifying integrity of Backup Tapes

anubis anubis357 at
Sat Nov 1 16:44:01 PST 2003

On Sat, 1 Nov 2003 02:31 pm, Rick Duvall wrote:
> I have some backup tapes that I have been using each once per week for
> about 8 months.  I am getting errors when running amverify on a couple of
> them. To be sure that my tapes are still good and not just the system
> giving me fits, it would be nice if I could run a program that would write
> bits to the tape in question and try to read them back, telling me which
> blocks on the tape are bad.  Is there such a tool that does this?  I guess
> it would be kind of like a scandisk is to a DOS Floppy as what I am talking
> about is to a Unix Tape.
> Sincerely,
> Rick Duvall
> Online Highways
> System Administrator
> (541) 997-8401 x 111
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If I get errors on tapes I bin them immediately.  Tapes wear and they do have 
a life span which varies from tape to tape.  If you are backing up something 
it is obviously important so take no chances in loosing it.
On my windows system I have the o/s backup set to verify to make sure the data 
is ok.  When it crashed and had to be restored from tape I found that 2 of 
the tapes that were verified couldnt be read.  The tapes were about a year 
old.  The amount of money the company lost from having an old tape could have 
paid for a new server, several tape drives and media.  The lesson I learnt 
was tapes are cheap, turn over frequently.

Remember with dds technology they are a helical scan head.  Tapes backed up on 
one dds drive are not necessarily readable by any other dds drive as I found 
out the hard way.  Look at DLT as an alternative.  Whatever you get make sure 
you add in a 3 year warranty.  Get one from hp or ibm.  We had our hp fail at 
4pm.  Had a new one on site 10am next day.  They only fail when you really 
need them.

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